Words by Jordan Scott.
Thirty years on from their debut album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are still proving to be one of the biggest and best live bands in the world. The California natives have no issues when it comes to selling out arenas, as they have always been renowned for their incredibly energetic performances and their extensive back catalogue of songs that can make for a colossal set list, along with new material keeping things fresh. The band set out earlier in the year for The Getaway tour, arriving in the UK in December. They travelled to Glasgow on the 5th and delivered an incredible performance to the sold out SSE Hydro Arena.
Supporting was Korean band Baby Metal, which was a bit of a mad watch that caught everyone off guard. Dressed almost as bizarrely as the Chili Peppers, they rolled through their fast and heavy songs (Sang entirely in Korean) and the crowd didn’t really know what to make of it at first. If anything Baby Metal were entertaining to watch and ended up winning the crowd over in the end.
The lights fell low at around 8.40, and three quarters of the band walked onto the stage and the Glaswegian crowd erupted. Bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer gathered around Chad Smith’s luminous drums, and began the first ‘Jam’ of the night. The trio began building a wave of sound that would eventually guide lead singer Anthony Kiedis out onto the stage, who crawled out on his hands and knees perfectly in sync with the music. The crowd then took the roof off as Anthony got up and cavorted over to the microphone as the band exploded into Can’t Stop.
The early part of the set was loaded with classics like Dani California, The Zephyr song and Wet Sand, but then the band took it to a new level when they blasted into Me and my Friends from their 1987 album The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, and flew around the stage with the same ferocity and energy that they did back in their early days. The songs from the The Getaway went down just as well as the classics, Dark Necessities and Go Robot being the crowd favourites. One thing just as impressive as the band was the lightshow, which was the best I’ve ever seen. A display of LED lights moved fluently up and down over the crowd changing colour with every song, and at times I found myself watching the lights more than the band itself.
The band left the stage midway through the night as Josh Klinghoffer took centre stage to perform cover of John Lennon’s Watching the Wheels, which was met with a massive ovation from everyone in the arena. The band returned, and Flea took a moment to reflect on their trips to Scotland down the years and thanked the “Motherf*cking Glaswegians!” for all of their support.
They then kicked off with another song from their infancy, their infamous cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, which was followed by their new albums title track The Getaway. The lights went down again in a blue haze as Josh struck the first notes of Under the Bridge, one of singer Anthony Kiedis’s most personal songs. This still comes across as an emotional moment after 25 years of him performing it, and the crowd as always was with him for every syllable. The highlight of the gig then came with by the Way which sent the whole arena into madness, and the band then left the stage as the venue went dark.
The Chili Peppers came back on for their encore lead by Flea doing a handstand across the stage, which is ridiculously impressive at the age of 54. The band saw out the night with Goodbye Angels from the new album and Suck my Kiss from their 1991 breakthrough record Blood Sugar Sex Magik, all the while mesmerising the crowd by jumping on amplifiers and dancing around with some of the most bizarre moves you’ll ever see. They thanked the crowed once again, with Anthony declaring “We got you Glasgow!”.
After three decades the mutual sense of loyalty shared between band and fans clearly hasn’t wavered one bit, as the crowd still belt out Kiedis’s lyrics with the same power and conviction that they always have done. The Chili Peppers look as sharp and as energetic as ever, and long may it continue.
Written by Jordan Scott, you can follow Jordan on twitter here.